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The Lindbergh Child

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About the Author

An award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, Rick Geary has worked for Marvel Entertainment Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and "Heavy Metal," and has contributed to "National Lampoon "and "The New York Times""Book Review."


Gr 10 Up-Geary brings his excellent and attractive pen-and-ink style to this fascinating account of an infamous case of the early 1930s. In March of 1932, the child of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his parents' home in Hopewell, NJ, and the family began to receive a series of ransom notes. However, the subsequent investigation turned up very few plausible leads, and when the child's remains were found, the case became one of murder. Although the suspected killer was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, many questions about his guilt-and about the nature of the crime itself-remain to this day. Using well-researched text and appealing art, Geary expertly recounts the crime's setting, the colorful characters involved (on both sides of the law), the communication between the kidnapper and Lindbergh, and the evidence both for and against Richard Hauptmann, the murder suspect. A good example of the origins of modern forensics, crime-scene investigation, and celebrity hysteria, this work is an excellent choice for most collections.-Dave Inabnitt, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Following his multivolume, nonfiction Treasury of Victorian Murder, Geary moves into the 20th century with a study of the 1932 kidnap-killing of celebrity aviator Charles A. Lindbergh's infant son. Not knowing their son was already dead, the little boy's parents negotiated for months with the kidnapper, while a swarm of quirky characters in search of money or glory rushed to "help." This macabre carnival could give a writer excuses for burlesque or melodrama, but Geary prefers to hold his subject at arm's length to examine it carefully. He delineates the large cast clearly while also exploring the case's presumably reliable physical evidence, and his crisp pen and ink style cleverly emphasizes the period snapshot appearance of places and people, especially the enigmatic Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted and eventually executed for the crime. There are reasons to doubt at least whether Hauptmann was the only criminal, but Geary refuses to conjecture beyond the evidence, despite his bemused understanding of how many of the people involved in the case lost their self-control. This thoughtful retelling of one of the century's most notorious crimes deserves several readings. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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